Bhutan to begin charging fee from Indian tourists too

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As an update in the tourism policy of Bhutan for Indian tourists, the neighbouring nation may soon start charging the fees which was waived off till now.

Bhutan’s tourism mantra is ‘high value, low impact’ and its aim is simple: to maximize the financial benefits of tourism, while minimizing its environmental and cultural impact. It’s a perfect example of the country’s guiding policy of ‘Gross National Happiness’.

What this means for foreign tourists is they will have to pay a minimum of US$250 per day for an organized trip in order to get a visa. Its main exception to the tariff rule was Indian tourists, who didn’t face any daily minimum rate, which will soon change.

As quoted by The Hindu, a Bhutanese delegate told that tourism is the second key revenue source for the tiny nation and it does not want to impact the same. It was also said that levying tourism fees on Indian tourists will keep a check on mass tourism during festival season in India.

According to the new policy, Indian tourists would be charged a Sustainable Development Fee, as well as a “permit processing fee”.

A dozen nations vie for the title of real-life Shangri-La, but Bhutan’s claim has more clout than most. This tiny piece of Himalayan paradise operates a strict ‘high-value, low-impact’ tourism policy, compelling travellers to pay a high daily fee just to set foot in its pine-scented, monastery-crowned hills. The pay-off for visitors is a chance to walk along mountain trails unsullied by litter, in the company of people whose Buddhist beliefs put them uniquely in tune with their environment. Bhutan punches well above its weight when it comes to sustainability.

It is already the world’s only carbon-negative country, and the kingdom is set to become the first fully organic nation by 2020, so it’s only going to get more beautiful.

Bhutan has been listed as the best country to visit in the year 2020 by Lonely Planet.